Alias: Namesakes (APO Series #9)

Alias: Namesakes (APO Series #9)

by J. J. Abrams, Greg Cox
     
 

Prologue

La Brea Tar Pits Los Angeles

A family of prehistoric mammoths posed around the edges of the bubbling tar pit. The life-size replicas drew wide-eyed stares from the throng of fourth graders visiting the site. Digital cameras whirred busily as the children chattered among themselves. A sunny

Overview


Prologue

La Brea Tar Pits Los Angeles

A family of prehistoric mammoths posed around the edges of the bubbling tar pit. The life-size replicas drew wide-eyed stares from the throng of fourth graders visiting the site. Digital cameras whirred busily as the children chattered among themselves. A sunny blue sky provided ideal weather for their field trip.

"Welcome to Rancho La Brea," Dan Tillworth said, greeting the students and their hassled teacher. The volunteer tour guide raised his voice to be heard over the babble of childish voices, not to mention the traffic on nearby Wilshire Boulevard. "Thanks for showing up here so bright and early this morning. Are you ready to learn about the pits?"

A chorus of enthusiastic voices answered in the affirmative.

"Great!" Dan said sincerely. He was anxious to get the tour started. The fourth graders from Buena Vista Elementary were the first group tour of the morning, but they were hardly the only field trip expected that day. He had a long shift ahead of him. "Let's get going!"

Ferns surrounded what looked like a large, greasy pond in the southeast corner of Hancock Park. Bubbles broke the oily surface of the pool as pockets of methane and hydrogen sulfide accompanied the gummy black asphalt seeping up from beneath the water. A smell like rotten eggs made the children wrinkle their noses. "Whoa, that stinks!" one of the kids exclaimed.

Dan led the group over to the wire fence guarding the perimeter of the pit. With his back to the bubbling ooze, he launched into his spiel. "The La Brea Tar Pits are one of the world's most famous repositories of prehistoric fossils. During the last ice age roughly ten thousand to forty thousand years ago, mammoths, saber-tooth tigers, and other now-extinct animals and plants were trapped in the sticky asphalt and preserved forever. Even today many small birds and insects are snared in the tar every year."

"Like that lady?" one kid asked.

Lady? Dan glanced over at the child, who was pressing his face against the wire fence. A horrified gasp escaped the guide's lips as he spotted what the boy was looking at.

Lying along the shore of the pond, half-submerged beneath the muck, was the body of a young woman, obviously quite deceased. Glassy eyes stared blankly back at Dan and the kids. Gooey pitch was smeared over the corpse's face and upper body. Streaks of asphalt clung to the woman's pink velour jogging suit. Although the woman's features were obscured by the goo, she looked to have been in her mid-thirties. Dan didn't think he had ever seen her before.

"Oh my God..."

The other children rushed forward to see, even as their teacher struggled to herd them away from the grisly sight. A few of the more sensitive kids started crying. The teacher's face looked just as pale as Dan imagined his own countenance must be. A little boy vomited onto the walkway. Dan knew exactly how he felt.

"That's it!" he blurted out. "The tour is over!"

According to the report the police filed, the woman's driver's license identified her as Christiana Stephens.

The name meant nothing to Dan.

Text and cover art copyright © 2006 by Touchstone Television.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416935001
Publisher:
Gallery Books
Publication date:
07/01/2006
Series:
Alias Series
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
File size:
312 KB

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt


Prologue

La Brea Tar Pits Los Angeles

A family of prehistoric mammoths posed around the edges of the bubbling tar pit. The life-size replicas drew wide-eyed stares from the throng of fourth graders visiting the site. Digital cameras whirred busily as the children chattered among themselves. A sunny blue sky provided ideal weather for their field trip.

"Welcome to Rancho La Brea," Dan Tillworth said, greeting the students and their hassled teacher. The volunteer tour guide raised his voice to be heard over the babble of childish voices, not to mention the traffic on nearby Wilshire Boulevard. "Thanks for showing up here so bright and early this morning. Are you ready to learn about the pits?"

A chorus of enthusiastic voices answered in the affirmative.

"Great!" Dan said sincerely. He was anxious to get the tour started. The fourth graders from Buena Vista Elementary were the first group tour of the morning, but they were hardly the only field trip expected that day. He had a long shift ahead of him. "Let's get going!"

Ferns surrounded what looked like a large, greasy pond in the southeast corner of Hancock Park. Bubbles broke the oily surface of the pool as pockets of methane and hydrogen sulfide accompanied the gummy black asphalt seeping up from beneath the water. A smell like rotten eggs made the children wrinkle their noses. "Whoa, that stinks!" one of the kids exclaimed.

Dan led the group over to the wire fence guarding the perimeter of the pit. With his back to the bubbling ooze, he launched into his spiel. "The La Brea Tar Pits are one of the world's most famous repositories of prehistoric fossils. During the last ice age roughly ten thousand to forty thousand years ago, mammoths, saber-tooth tigers, and other now-extinct animals and plants were trapped in the sticky asphalt and preserved forever. Even today many small birds and insects are snared in the tar every year."

"Like that lady?" one kid asked.

Lady? Dan glanced over at the child, who was pressing his face against the wire fence. A horrified gasp escaped the guide's lips as he spotted what the boy was looking at.

Lying along the shore of the pond, half-submerged beneath the muck, was the body of a young woman, obviously quite deceased. Glassy eyes stared blankly back at Dan and the kids. Gooey pitch was smeared over the corpse's face and upper body. Streaks of asphalt clung to the woman's pink velour jogging suit. Although the woman's features were obscured by the goo, she looked to have been in her mid-thirties. Dan didn't think he had ever seen her before.

"Oh my God..."

The other children rushed forward to see, even as their teacher struggled to herd them away from the grisly sight. A few of the more sensitive kids started crying. The teacher's face looked just as pale as Dan imagined his own countenance must be. A little boy vomited onto the walkway. Dan knew exactly how he felt.

"That's it!" he blurted out. "The tour is over!"

According to the report the police filed, the woman's driver's license identified her as Christiana Stephens.

The name meant nothing to Dan.

Text and cover art copyright © 2006 by Touchstone Television.

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Jacob “J. J.” Abrams is a director, producer, writer, author, and composer, best known for his work in the genres of action, drama, and science fiction. Abrams wrote and/or produced feature films such as Regarding Harry, Forever Young, Armageddon, and Cloverfield. He created or cocreated a number of TV drama series, including Felicity, Alias, Lost, and Fringe. He has also directed Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and several others.
Greg Cox is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous Star Trek novels and short stories. He has also written the official movie novelizations of GodzillaMan of SteelThe Dark Knight RisesDaredevilGhost Rider, and the first three Underworld movies, as well as books and stories based on such popular series as AliasBuffy the Vampire SlayerCSIFarscapeThe 4400, LeverageThe Green Hornet, The PhantomRoswellStar TrekTerminatorWarehouse 13Xena: Warrior Princess, and Zorro. He has received two Scribe Awards from the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers. He lives in Oxford, Pennsylvania. Visit him at GregCox-Author.com.

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